Alan Pardew

By Dan King - Newcastle United Digital Editor

Former Tottenham midfielder Alan Pardew has backed his old club for a top four finish this season - but the Newcastle manager is more concerned with his current side's league position.

And the Wimbledon-born boss, who made four appearances for Spurs in the mid-1990s, believes Sunday's game at White Hart Lane could prove crucial to United's standing.

The Magpies go into the game sitting in ninth and with an oppotunity to open a gap between themselves and those in the bottom half of the Barclays Premier League table, while Andre Villas-Boas' Lilywhites are looking to climb into second place.

Gareth Bale scored both goals when Spurs won 2-1 in this fixture last season but Pardew believes they're a better outfit now despite the loss of the Welsh winger during the summer.

"You're always going to miss someone who can produce goals out of nothing, like he did for Real Madrid in the week, but they've used that money well in terms of making the group stronger," he said.

"I think he's got a stronger group and defensively they've been probably the best side in the Premiership so they've got a lot going for them at the moment.

"They've got so many great players to choose from.

"They certainly have the depth of squad; I think they're a serious contender for that Europa League and obviously a Champions League position is what probably they're targetting. I think they've got a very good chance of that.

"This is the end of a difficult period, in my view, of games for us because then we've got two home games.

"It could put us in a great position if we get a win against Spurs, or a draw even, so I think it's an important game for our league position.

"We've got a good feeling in the group at the moment and we go to Spurs in a real good state of mind."

But with a 12 noon kick-off, Pardew knows Newcastle must start well - something they've not always done in that part of North London.

"Particularly two years ago, we really got caught in the headlights there," he admitted.

"It's an early start for us so we'll have to get up early, have a little walk around to get the cobwebs out, get some porridge down us and make sure we're ready."

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